Looking for Clues (In Several Wrong Places)
The security guards at the ground floor of the Space Pope’s office opened the doors, and we were met with a wall of reporters. Flashes from cameras went off on every side. A loud din began as several reporters started talking at once, their voices melding together in a cacophony that made it difficult to determine who was saying what.
One particularly short reporter pushed his way to the front, sticking a microphone straight in Serena’s face. “Hi, Chuck Clusterbluck here, doing a piece with the Galactic Inquirer,” he said, his eyes quickly scanning our group before focusing on Serena in the front. “Is it true the Space Pope has hired a bunch of random nobodies to find the missing guys from Andromeda?”
Serena hesitated, more than likely taken aback by Chuck’s upfront assault. “Er…yes…I mean, no, I mean…I don’t think of us as nobodies,” she said. “We are a group of diehard fans who have the freedom to move around and not be caught up in any bureaucracy or government.”
“Uh huh,” Chuck said, his voice showing that he hardly believed her. “And who are you, exactly? Not that I care, but it’s probably good for the article.”
“I’m Serena Nelson, hero of the Adventure Game Revival Movement, and this…”
“That’s great, Selena,” Chuck interrupted, clearly not caring about any of the rest of us. “And what exactly do you really think you can do that the greatest detectives on Andromeda haven’t been able to do?”
“I’ll tell you what, Chuck,” the Historian interjected. “We can do a lot more investigation than you do in researching your articles!”
“YOU!” Chuck said, seemingly noticing the Historian for the first time. How anyone could miss a four-armed alien in a group of humans is beyond me, but Chuck’s gaze focused on the Historian with a look of pure hatred. “You’re that asshole who stole all of my transmissions after I was trapped in an interdimensional rift! I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re the one behind this whole conspiracy!”
”Now wait a minute,” Serena started to say.
“Look, Sabrina,” Chuck said, interrupting her again. “I have enough information to write a great story here. I would thank you for your time, but you didn’t really do anything. I’ll catch you outlaws later. That is, if the feds don’t get you first!”
Chuck ran off, leaving another large group of reporters to surround us. “Well, this is going great,” Blackthorne said, rolling his eyes as Chuck’s departing back.
The voices threatened to overwhelm us again, “Hi, I’m Dos Nostalgic. I’m doing a piece for…” “Spikey here, can I get a segment for the Andromedan Music Radio?” “Is there anything you’d like to contribute to the Janitorial Times?”
Before any of us could reply to the numerous questions we were being bombarded with, a loud whistle pierced the noise, quieting down the reporters as they turned to see who had made the sound.
Two figures stood a distance away from us, a male and a female, both dressed in black suits and wearing sunglasses. “I’m sorry to interrupt, but we have specific orders to take this group to their specified locations,” the male said. “I’m afraid your reports will have to wait for another time.” The feeling of authority radiated off of these two people. They were NOT ones to be ignored. The reporters reluctantly backed off to make room for our rescuers, who led us through the crowd to a large hovership that we all entered.
Once inside, the ship took off of the ground, leaving a group of dejected reporters below us. “I know, it seems like overkill, but you guys would have never gotten out of that group for at least another few hours, and time is of the essence,” the female said.
“And who exactly are you?” Serena asked.
“Oh, sorry. Should have introduced ourselves sooner,” the male responded. “We’re with the Space Pope’s secret service. You can call me Agent Irishmile, and this is my partner, Agent Jeysie. The Space Pope sent us to watch out for you guys and to help you out if you found yourselves in situations like the one below.”
“Well, I for one am glad that we didn’t have to deal with all of those reporters,” the Space Quest Historian said. “It was bad enough to have to deal with that Chuck guy.”
“We’ll take you directly to the Two Guys’ apartment building,” Agent Jeysie told us. “Their office is connected to it, and the entire premise is blocked off from reporters at the moment. Detective Luck A. China is supposed to meet all of you there.”
The hovercraft soon came to a landing outside of a high-tech building that housed the Two Guys’ office and apartment.
As we all got out, Serena turned to the Agents. “Thank you so much for your help!” she said.
“That’s what we’re here for,” Agent Irishmile responded. “Is there anything else you need us for?”
“Actually,” PCJ-1 said, “If you could please show Mr. Tawmis and his group the Two Guys’ rooms, I will take Ms. Nelson and her group to the Two Guys’ office.”
Agent Jeysie nodded. “Sounds good,” she said.
The Agents took Tawmis, Say, Jessie, and Bill and headed in the north towards the far end of the building. PCJ-1 led Serena, Blackthorne, the Historian, and me to the end closest to us.
“I must warn you,” he said, “Their office is in a bit of disarray. Whoever ransacked it did a very thorough job.”
We entered the office to find a huge mess of papers and datapads scattered about. The lifeless form of Ace Hardway sat slumped in the corner, unable to move without the Two Guys finishing all the aspects of his story. Interestingly enough, I noticed that Detective Luck A. China was nowhere to be seen.
“Detective?” Serena called out. There was no answer. She turned to PCJ. “Isn’t he supposed to meet us here?”
“That is what the Space Pope informed me,” PCJ said in response. “My sensors do not indicate any other life forms inside the building besides us and the group in the Two Guys’ apartments.”
“Let me contact Frede and see if he knows anything,” the Historian said. He pulled out a small communicator from his pocket and input some numbers to contact the group back at the Space Pope’s headquarters. “Huh. No response. That’s odd…”
Before we could think any further, we heard a scream followed by a loud roar coming from outside. We rushed out of the office, running into the other group outside, but everyone seemed okay.
“Where did that sound come from?” Say asked.
PCJ looked around. “My sensors are indicating a large life form due north of here.”
We headed north towards the edge of the building. As we came around the corner, we were faced by a nightmare recognizable to any Space Quest fan: a Labion Root Monster.
The creature appeared to have broken out of the ground itself somehow, its roots massively surrounding the large monstrous head at the center. A man was wrapped up in one of the vines, unable to move. The vine curled around his face, preventing him from screaming any further. The head of the monster opened and said, “I am Root!”
“Everyone back! It’s got Detective Luck A. China!” Agent Irishmile said. He pulled a gun from his belt, but before he could act, the Root Monster stretched out a vine and caught both him and Agent Jeysie tightly in its grasp.
The rest of us had moved out of the way of the vines that were creeping towards us. We were far enough back that the monster couldn’t reach us at this point, but its vines were lengthening at a fast pace towards our group.
“PCJ, signal for backup!” Serena said backing our group into the main street. Despite the fact that the Two Guys lived in what looked like a fairly developed section of the city, there were no other people present at all.
“I cannot,” the android responded. “There is something blocking all signals.”
“Tawmis, can you contact the ship?” she asked.
“Arrrr! My signal’s blocked too,” he replied.
“Everyone, get back on the hovercraft and go get help!” Serena said. “I’ll stay here and keep this monster occupied.”
“But Serena…” I started to say.
“No time to argue! Go now!” she replied.
Tawmis led the group back towards the hovercraft. As we neared it, a tentacle rose out of the ground, separating Blackthorne, PCJ, and me from the rest of the group. “Go on and get help!” I cried. “We’ll stay here and try to assist Serena!”
Tawmis nodded and closed the door to the ship. It took off quickly in the direction we had come from. Blackthorne, PCJ and I backed up to Serena. We were now completely surrounded by the vines, but they had yet to attack us. We had no weapons, having left them all on the ship when we arrived. “Any ideas?” Serena asked us.
“Blackthorne, I don’t suppose you have one of your exploding rabbits lying around, do you?” I asked.
“Nope, I’m all out of those at the moment. Never thought I’d actually come face to face with one of these things.”
“This seems futile,” Serena said, “but PCJ, can you save our progress at the moment?”
“I’m afraid not, Ms. Nelson. Whatever is blocking the signal is also blocking the F5 button as well.”
“Wait a second,” I said. “Why hasn’t it attacked us yet? And for that matter, why hasn’t it tried to eat anyone?” I looked over closer to the monstrous head. Detective China and the Agents were both still alive and attempting to squirm out of the roots, but the monster had not attempted to attack any of them. “It always killed Roger immediately.” I pointed out.
“Maybe it’s not hungry,” Serena said, shrugging her shoulders. “Or maybe…”
Serena ran towards the closest vine. “Serena, what are you doing?” Blackthorne yelled. Serena didn’t answer but came right up next to the vine. Surprisingly, the vine did not attack her or attempt to capture her. She successfully jumped over the vine, running off before it could catch up.
“She’s trying to distract it,” Blackthorne said, a look of realization on his face. “Let’s see if we can help her.” He took off in the opposite direction. As soon as he got close to the vine, though, it quickly wrapped itself around him like the others.
“Blackthorne!” I yelled in surprise. Serena stopped running and turned around to see what had happened. The Root Monster took the opportunity to wind a wall of roots in between two buildings on the street, preventing her from progressing in the direction she was heading. For whatever reason, though, it seemed to not want to touch her.
I looked to PCJ, scared as to what to do. The vines were starting to creep towards us, and I had a feeling they wouldn’t make an exception for us like they did Serena. Before anything else could happen though, a large sound pierced the sky. I looked up to see Tawmis’ ship flying through the air, turning to its side and allowing an electrical cannon to shoot a blast of pure energy at the head of the root monster. The head exploded into billions of nasty alien guts, and the vines began withering away immediately. Blackthorne, the Agents, and Detective China all freed themselves from the withered vines, looking relieved to be free from their constraints.
A loud sound came from beyond where the root monster had broken from the earth. We turned to see an unmarked ship blast off from behind the Two Guys’ home. “What is that?” Blackthorne said.
“I don’t know, but it seems far too suspicious to not be examined,” Serena replied, having returned to us after the root monster’s demise. The Andromedan police vehicles were now making their way towards the commotion. Figured that the police wouldn’t arrive until after the situation had been dealt with.
“Whatever it was,” PCJ said, “It was the source of the signal block. I now have access to Communications.”
“PCJ, can you please signal Tawmis and tell him to stay on standby in case there are any other surprises?” Serena asked.
“Will do,” PCJ responded.
“Meanwhile,” Serena said, “Let’s check out where that ship took off.”
We made our way to the general vicinity of where the ship had been parked, being joined by Detective China and the agents by that time.
There were no obvious clues, with the exception of what looked like a piece of paper sticking out of the ground. It has obviously been purposefully put there by someone to be found. Detective China picked it up and opened it. It appeared to be some sort of flier.
“Do any of you know of this place?” he asked, turning the page around so we could see what was written.
When I saw it, my blood froze cold. The top of the page had a rainbow teddy bear, and the page itself was blue with large accent bubbles. Even if the name hadn’t been written across the top by the teddy bear, the background was unmistakable: The page was an advertisement for Sierra Planet, Jessie’s home and a hangout for Roberta Williams’ fans, a place dear to my heart and a huge piece of my past. What bothered me the most, though, was what was handwritten across the bottom of the page: the words “Come and get them.”